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News Wrap: Iranians Head to the Polls to Choose New President

June 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
In other news Friday, millions of Iranians headed to the polls to vote for a new president. Despite international criticism over the election process, long lines of men and women could be seen at polling stations across Iran. Also, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with protesters over the fate of an Istanbul park.
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KWAME HOLMAN: Millions of Iranians voted for a new president today, as their leaders rejected criticism of the process. Long lines of men and women could be seen outside polling stations in Iran and at embassies around the world.

Six candidates were allowed to run, but only Hassan Rowhani was considered a moderate. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected U.S. criticism the election is stacked in favor of hard-liners. He said today his response is, “To hell with you if you do not believe in our election.”

In Turkey, activists weighed whether to end a sit-in at an Istanbul park that gave rise to widespread protests against the government. Last night, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with a delegation of protesters. He offered to let courts and maybe a referendum decide on the park’s future.

Today, he called it a final warning.

PRIME MINISTER RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkey: We told the group that visited last night that we are asking them to show determination and support now, to speak to our youngsters, to let them take this step, and don’t make us use different methods. Then we said goodbye to them. I hope this will end today and we will take our steps in determination.

KWAME HOLMAN: Erdogan has called his supporters to rally in Ankara and Istanbul this weekend, raising the prospect of more tensions with the protesters.

A Chinese newspaper today urged China’s leaders to talk to Edward Snowden, the man who exposed U.S. surveillance programs. Snowden also has said the National Security Agency hacked targets in Hong Kong and mainland China thousands of times. Today, the Communist Party-backed Global Times addressed that allegation in an editorial.

It said, “The Chinese government should let him speak out and use it as evidence to negotiate with the United States openly or in private.”

U.S. officials have repeatedly accused China of cyber-attacks on American targets.

A record-breaking wildfire near Colorado Springs, Colo., has claimed new victims in property and lives. As the fire burned today, officials said they found the bodies of two people who’d been trying to flee on Tuesday. So far, the fire has destroyed 389 homes over 25 square miles, but local Sheriff Terry Maketa said it slowed in the last 24 hours.

SHERIFF TERRY MAKETA, El Paso County, Colo.: I know that circumstances can change, and we’re going to expect a little bit of wind today. But you notice we have some cloud cover. That’s to our favor. And the winds were calm throughout the night for the most part. And right now, we’re not sitting here talking into the wind, so that’s a good sign as well.

KWAME HOLMAN: The fire now is the most destructive in Colorado history. There’s no word yet on how it started.

A military judge has barred the suspect in the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings from arguing he acted to protect the Afghan Taliban. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding nearly three dozen in Nov. 2009. The judge ruled today there was no evidence that his fellow soldiers posed an immediate threat to anyone in Afghanistan.

The U.S. House today passed a defense bill that includes mandatory two-year prison terms for sexual assaults in the military. It also would strip commanders of the power to overturn sexual assault convictions. The overall bill envisions $638 billion dollars for defense in the coming year. But President Obama has threatened a veto because it blocks closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The latest data on the U.S. economy left something to be desired today. Factory output barely rose in May, and consumer sentiment fell in June. Wall Street reacted with a Friday sell-off. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 106 points to close at 15,070. The Nasdaq fell nearly 22 points to close at 3,422. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq lost more than one percent.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.